According to Danny O'Neil, Brandon Browner will begin serving his four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, reportedly the amphetamine Adderall, immediately.
An official announcement is expected shortly. He will miss Seattle's final four regular-season games, but will be eligible to return for the postseason. If the Seahawks do not make the playoffs, he will begin next season eligible to play.
With Browner set to begin his suspension, Richard Sherman remains embroiled in his appeal, and his hearing is set for December 14th. It's been speculated that because of Sherman's delayed appeal, he'll be available to the Seahawks for at least two more games. It makes sense, to me anyway, for Browner to begin his suspension immediately so as to stagger the two potential suspensions of the Seahawks' starting cornerbacks, particularly considering that it seems very unlikely that either of these suspensions will be overturned.
Browner had claimed that there were handling errors in the collection of his specimen, but it now seems clear that his defense was unlikely to be overturned. Richard Sherman hasn't yet publicly given a defense, only stating that he has never taken Adderall or any performance enhancing drug. There was a report out of USA Today that Sherman was going to claim he accidentally drank from a teammate's bottle, and that's how the drug was ingested, but Sherman denies that report. (And, I hope that's not his defense, because, frankly, that won't work.)
Browner will now miss the team's final four regular season games against Arizona, Buffalo, San Francisco and St. Louis, so it will now be interesting to see who takes over his spot on the outside. Jeremy Lane, Marcus Trufant, Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell, and Deshawn Shead are all possible candidates. The Seahawks also signed Ron Parker, who was with the team in training camp and preseason, to their active roster. Shead and Parker take Browner and Braylon Edwards' spots on the 53-man roster.
Regardless, the depth at corner is actually stronger than many might believe, I think, and it should be fun to see how any of this group performs in game action.
Per Pete Carroll's press conference, Walter Thurmond will take over for Browner on the outside, and they'll continue their same style of play. Remember, Thurmond might be 5'11 or so, but has the same arm span as Richard Sherman, so he can really still play the pressing, physical style that Browner brings.
Moving to the inside, Jeremy Lane will be the first man up for the nickel slot CB role, and will be backed up by Byron Maxwell. Deshawn Shead will be depth there, as will Ron Parker.
Pete Carroll also said that "G James Carpenter will be fine for the long haul" but his tweaked knee, coupled with the previous concussion issue, meant that the Seahawks decided to end his year. So, that may be why he was given the 'non-football illness' designation -- I kind of had thought that it would be nothing, and so far it appears it was just a confluence of different things that gave them reason to sit him down for the rest of the year. Tough break again for Carpenter.